The Dangers of Politically Correct Leadership

Dov Baron on the dangers of the politically correct leadership.

Heads up: This is an article that might upset some folks. How long have you been a leader?

If it’s longer than as little as ten years, there’s a very good chance that you have seen some of the foundational sentiments of leadership get turned on their head.

As someone who has been in the world of leadership development and consulting for more than thirty years I can clearly remember the indoctrination of the need to separate ones personal and professional lives. I should point out that I never believed that was the way to go (and hey, it only took about twenty five years for me to be ‘not so crazy after all’)

Clearly the world of not only leadership, but also business in general has vastly changed. Through open forums like FaceBook and Twitter etc, who we are personally can no longer be separated from who we are professionally. We must be not only authentic,but also congruent.

One of the strangest turns in the world of leadership is that where we stand religiously and politically has become part of doing business…but we must consider: Is this a place where Transparent Leadership may backfire?

You may remember back in 2012 there was a big “hoo-haa” whenChick-fil-A, CEO Dan Cathy spoke out against same sex marriage? Then in 2014 theCEO of Mozilla(the Fire Fox browser) Brendan Eich was removed from his position because he too is against same sex marriage.

I want to be crystal clear here and say: I am a supporter of the LGBTQ community and I am totally in favour of same sex marriage and all the rights that go with it.(that is not the point we are addressing here)

My point is this; there are people in leadership positions I have very little common ground with except to say; to me it has always seemed likethe whole “politically correct” thing has gotten way out of hand.It appears to me that it’s a very slippery slop leading to a place where it can seem likethe “thought police”could take us away for thinking the “wrong” thoughts.

As a leader my question for you is this:

Have we gone too far in our desire to have everyone included, that we are prepared to exclude, even chase out of town, anyone with a contradictory option?

We are living in a time of very divided opinion and with that division also comes the propensity to dehumanize the other. The solution to division is not to silence the other, but rather to listen and hear past our own bias.

If we say that we want transparent leadership are going to have to truly embrace the model of real transparency. That model would need to be one that sincerely includes real freedom of speech.To actually not only embrace but encourage it!

Let’s not forget thatif a CEO would have stood up and said that s/he was in favour of gay marriage as little as 15-20 years ago, that CEO would have received at least as much backlash as Eich has received for saying he’s against it.

Dov Baron on the dangers of the politically correct leadership.

All this being what it is; transparency is always the way to go!

Not because everyone will like what’s being said, but because we are all empowered by it. The bottom line is there are three ways to vote; at the ballets, with your feet (walking away or towards), and with your dollars (choosing to buy or not)

As an employee who may be a C-Suite executive or the janitor if you work for someone, or by the products from a company whose religious or sexual orientation is offensive to you,you are empowered to vote with your feet or your dollars.

It seems to me that if Brendan Eich was a good CEO (and I honestly know whether he was or wasn’t) and his religious beliefs were not being forced upon anyone else, then it’s no ones business.

As I said a few paragraphs ago; as consumerswe are not powerless! We may in fact hold the ultimate power, in thatwe all have the power to vote with both our wallets and out feet.

As a leader I implore you to stay aware in this time where there are many wonderful forums that facilitate free speech, there aremany who would like to check, censor and control those outlets (the internet).

It seems to me that we need to be very cautious about shutting up the people whose opinions we don’t like. Because, there could very quickly come a day where the powers that be don’t like what it is you have to say and they may come silence you.

So again I ask: Have we gone too far in our desire to have everyone included, that we are prepared to exclude, even chase out of town, anyone with a contradictory option?

I trust that you found this article valuable, if so feel free to send this to your friends.

I eagerly anticipate your feedback and comments. Please share, like and comment below!

With gratitude,

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One of Inc. Magazine’s Top 100 Leadership Speakers to hire, Dov Baron is a leadership advisor to the United Nations (UN), a bestselling author, the world’s only Corporate Cultural Momentum Strategist, and a top-ranking podcast host. He is also the leading authority on Authentic Leadership, and Leadership Succession or, as he prefers to call it, “Full Monty Leadership.” Try his Authentic Leadership Matrix for free: